My 6 TOP tips for taking tests and exams

My 6 TOP tips for taking tests and exams
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    Welcome to
    I'm Adam.
    In today's video I want to talk to you about how to prepare for taking a test.
    I'm not talking about studying the material or studying...
    Practicing the English, if you're taking an English test, like IELTS or TOEFL.
    I want you to think about the actual test day, what you need to do just before, what
    you need to do during, what you need to do or not do after.
    So, we're going to look at six tips to prep, to get ready for test day.
    Now, these are all very general tips, but I'm going to get into a little more detail
    with each one.
    Number one: Good rest.
    What does this mean?
    Make sure the night before a test...
    And this is about any test you're going to take, make sure you get a good night's sleep.
    Because I've met a lot of people...
    Excuse me.
    I've met a lot of people who are going to take a test and I know that they were very,
    very prepared.
    They studied all the material, their English was excellent, and then they went to the test
    and they did terribly.
    Because they were so tired.
    They just couldn't concentrate.
    The night before, get a good night's sleep.
    Don't study the night before.
    Sleep, wake up early, be fresh when you get to the test center.
    Have all of your energy ready to focus on what you're about to do.
    Don't go out partying, don't go drinking, don't go see a movie, don't go hang out with friends.
    Stay at home, relax, read a book, maybe watch a little bit of television.
    Go to sleep early, wake up early, make sure you have enough time to get to the test center,
    make sure everything is under control, there's no anxiety, no stress, relaxed.
    With a clear mind is a strong mind, right?
    If your mind is clear, and sharp, and focused, you're going to do well.
    If you're tired, and panicky, and not so sure what's going on, you're not going to do well.
    Good nutrition.
    Now, this is very important.
    The morning of the test, make sure you wake up early enough to have a solid breakfast.
    Now, if you're a coffee drinker, have a coffee, but have it early and don't have any more
    before the test.
    Coffee is a stimulant.
    Coffee is a stimulant.
    It stimulates the body, it gets the energy flowing, you get a bit of adrenaline going,
    you get a bit of a sugar rush.
    Caffeine gets your...
    Everything moving a little bit faster.
    The problem with a stimulant is it gives you a nice boost of energy, but then when the
    stimulant works its way out of the body, then you come down real hard again.
    And that's when you start making mistakes, that's when you stop thinking clearly, that's
    when you get a little bit tired, you lose a little bit of focus, and then you start
    making silly mistakes.
    Most of these tests, and again, we're talking about IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GMAT, even your high
    school exams, most of them are long.
    I remember in university having three-hour exams as a regular thing.
    Make sure that you're energetic from beginning to end; you don't have a downtime where everything
    falls apart and you don't know what you're writing about.
    So, what is good nutrition?
    Have a good protein, high-protein breakfast, make sure you have some carbohydrates, like
    sugars, things that give you energy, but not too much.
    Sugar is also a stimulant, so you don't want to have, like, a cinnamon bun from Cinnabon
    that's full of sugar that's going to get you all juiced up, and then it's going to drop
    you right in the middle of a test and you lost all your focus.
    Good protein.
    If you have your coffee, have it early.
    Make sure that your...
    Everything your body needs.
    Now, you have to understand h ow...
    How your body works.
    So, again, if you're a coffee drinker, drink your coffee; if you're not, don't drink a
    coffee just do get the energy buzz.
    You can have a protein shake if that works for you, you can have a protein bar, you can
    take that with you, have it just before the test, but again, make sure your stomach is
    not louder than your thoughts.
    I've been in those kinds of tests as well, where my stomach is so loud that the people
    next to me couldn't concentrate on their test either, so don't do that.
    Now, the night before.
    I already mentioned: Don't study the night before.
    If you don't know the material, if you don't know the English, if you don't know your science,
    if you don't know your math, the night before the test you won't know it the next day either.
    You can study all night, it's going to come in, it's going to go right out.
    The materials that are going to be on your test have been taught to you over a long span.
    You can't squeeze them into one night.
    Now, what you will do by studying the night before is you're going to make yourself realize:
    "Oh my god, I don't actually understand this part", or "I don't know this word", or "I
    don't know this structure".
    If you're doing this the night before, all you're doing is building stress.
    Stress is not a good thing for a test.
    And again, I've met lots of people who are very smart and knew all their materials, but
    they just couldn't handle the stress of the test.
    Sometimes the pressure of the timing, or the pressure of the situation, being in a classroom
    or being in a room with a bunch of other people, and the clock ticking-tick, tick, tick, tick,
    tick, tick, tick-and you're like: "Oh my god, I have to finish."
    The stress makes you not think clearly.
    The night before you don't want to stress yourself out; you want to relax.
    Stay at home, relax, read a book, watch a movie at home, etc.
    Know thyself.
    Now, if any of you have watched the movie The Matrix, The Oracle says to Neo, there's
    a sign above the door: "Know thyself".
    Basically know what works for you, what doesn't work for you.
    What are your strengths?
    What are your weaknesses?
    And most, above all, we have this expression: "Keep things in perspective".
    What does it mean to keep things in perspective?
    First of all, understand that this test, as much as you think it's going to change your
    whole life, it's not.
    It's one test.
    If you prepared for it, you will do well.
    If you didn't prepare for it, you won't do well.
    And it's basically the way it is.
    If you're ready for the test, you will be well.
    Be ready, keep it all in perspective.
    Now, if you're talking about IELTS or TOEFL, keep in mind it's not one time.
    If you didn't do well this time, you'll take it again a month later or two months later.
    Yes, I know they're expensive tests, but at the end of the day it's just money, it's not
    your whole life.
    Keep it in perspective, stay relaxed, you'll do well.
    Now, another thing about knowing yourself: What are your strengths?
    Make sure that you go through the whole test, and if certain parts of the test are difficult
    for you, concentrate on those types of questions, or those structures, or those equations, if
    you're doing a math test.
    Things that are easy for you, don't waste your time working on them; they're easy for
    Know your weaknesses, work on them.
    Know your strengths, rely on them.
    The strengths will make up for some of the weaknesses, and vice versa.
    And another thing, if you're the type of person that gets very nervous in a test situation,
    figure out a way to remove that stress.
    I'm the type of person when I get into a test and I start to get a little bit panicky, all
    I do, I put my pen down, I close my eyes, I breathe...
    I take a full minute, maybe even two minutes.
    Two minutes out of a three-hour test is nothing.
    Trust yourself.
    Close your eyes, breathe, calm down, and continue with your test.
    If you fight the pressure, if you fight the stress, you're only going to double it and
    triple it.
    And then you get into a cycle, and basically it snowballs until it gets so big that you
    You lose control and you lose your focus, and you don't know what you're doing and that's
    when you start getting the bad results.
    I've seen so many people who I know, especially like I teach IELTS and TOEFL, and I see people's
    essays for example, and I say: "Okay, here's a sentence.
    What's wrong here?"
    And they go: -"Oh, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong."
    -"Well, if you know this, why did you do it here?"
    -"Oh, I was just nervous.
    The time was running out and I didn't..."
    Don't be nervous.
    Manage your time.
    Learn how to calm yourself down, and stay focused and do it well, the way you know...
    You know you can do it.
    Just as importantly, make sure that you know the test from beginning to end, you know it
    You know all the directions that are coming, you know all the types of questions that are
    coming, you know the level of vocabulary, the level of equations, the level of imagination
    they want from you.
    Know everything about the test.
    So let's look at IELTS as an example.
    I've seen hundreds of times you have...
    You come across a question, it asks you: "Is it true, is it false, or is it not given?"
    And how many times have I seen people just say: "Oh, yes, no, not given."
    And you know what?
    You're losing points because you didn't look at the instruction carefully.
    If it says: "True" and you wrote "Yes", you actually didn't answer the question.
    If it asks for "Yes" and you wrote "True", you didn't answer the question.
    Just have a quick second, know that there's two types of this question.
    They work exactly the same way, but the answer has to be "True", not "Yes"; the answer has
    to be "No", not "False".
    Make sure you're doing the right thing.
    I've also seen, like, let's say this is the answer key, and you come to this question
    and you don't really know, like in the reading section, you don't know the answer.
    So you put yourself a little mark and you say: "I'll come back to it later."
    But if you didn't put this mark and you go to the next question-okay?-and you know the
    answer, then you don't pay attention, you see a blank, you put the answer here.
    Meanwhile, this answer belongs here.
    So guess what?
    All the rest of your answers are going to be mistakes, and you might not have time to
    go fix it all.
    Be very careful.
    These are silly mistakes that will cost you a lot of points and maybe lose you the test.
    Know what's coming.
    TOEFL, in the listening section or in the first part of the writing section you're going
    to need to know how to take notes.
    You can't just listen and think that you're going to write your task one summary.
    You can't do all...
    Listen to all the listening section and think you're going to be able to answer all the
    You're going to have to take notes.
    So, make sure you practice note-taking skills well before the test.
    Because what happens, if you do the listening section and you didn't take notes, and then
    you're missing a lot of these questions and you think you're doing badly, then you start
    to panic.
    The more you panic, the worse the panic becomes.
    Then you go to the reading section, and you're already so panicked and so stressed that you
    can't read properly, and you're making mistakes there, and the panic builds, and it builds,
    and builds, and then your whole test falls apart, you're going to have to come do it
    But keep it in perspective: You can do it again, so don't worry too much about it.
    Now, very important, logistics.
    Make sure that you know where the test center is, make sure you know how you're getting
    If you're taking a bus, make sure you know the bus number and the bus route.
    Make sure you know if there's construction on the way that's going to slow you down.
    Make sure you know how long it takes from your home station to the test center station.
    Always make sure you have a back-up plan.
    For example, in...
    If you live in Toronto, you're going to go take your IELTS test in Toronto and you're
    planning on taking the subway, keep in mind that in Toronto the subway system breaks all
    the time or has delays all the time.
    So if you go Saturday morning to the subway station and there's a sign: "Oh, subway will
    be delayed 20 minutes."
    Well, those 20 minutes will make you late for the test and you might not be allowed
    in to take the test.
    Your $300 are gone, you have to write the test, you get zeros all the way across.
    Be very careful.
    Have a back-up plan.
    Make sure you have an Uber number or a taxi number, or a friend's number who has a car
    that you can call last minute to get a ride to the test center.
    Make sure you know everything about it so there are no surprises and nothing that will
    create stress or anxiety.
    So, now, if we add all of these up together, all of these tips, what do they add up to?
    What is the most important thing that you need to do and remember on test day?
    Now, every time I start teaching a class for test prep, like IELTS or TOEFL, this is the
    first thing I teach.
    Any class I begin, rule number one: Relax.
    It's not a big deal. Relax.
    Now, another thing to understand: Most...
    I don't know if most, but many native English speakers who go take the IELTS and TOEFL without
    preparing, without knowing what to expect, without even looking at a practice test will
    fail the test.
    It's not an easy test.
    Just because I'm a native English speaker doesn't mean I can go write a TOEFL test and
    get 120.
    It doesn't work that way.
    The purpose of a test...
    Now, IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, any test, the number one purpose of a test is to see...
    Is to test your ability to take a test.
    It's like project management.
    Did you prepare?
    Did you know what's coming?
    Did you perform?
    That's it.
    Make sure you prepared for everything, there are no surprises, you're relaxed, you know
    what's coming, it's all good.
    Keep it in perspective.
    Now, if you have any questions about this or any comments, please go to,
    you can ask me in the forum section there.
    I actually will put a quiz on there just to make sure I don't catch anybody sleeping in
    this lesson.
    If you like the lesson, please give me a like on YouTube and subscribe to my channel, and
    come back for many more test tips.
    Oh, and by the way, if...
    On we have a lot of lessons, for those of you who are taking the IELTS
    and TOEFL, you can go watch all kinds of videos to help you prepare so you know the test very well.
    No reason not to.
    I'll see you again real soon.
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